- Capital, BHP, Renishaw rise strongly after results/updates
- BoE votes unanimously on rates
- Ukraine, Gaza still in focus but fears ease
techMARK 2,833.96 +0.26%
FTSE 100 6,816.83 +0.32%
FTSE 250 15,696.15 +0.29%
UK stocks were trading at their highest level in over two weeks on Wednesday as well-received updates from Capita, BHP Billiton and Renishaw gave sentiment a boost.
While investors still watch geopolitical developments in Ukraine and Gaza closely, risk appetite is continuing to return to markets following the volatility that ensued last week.
The FTSE 100 was trading 0.3% higher at 6,817 by midday; it has not closed above the 6,800 mark since July 7th.
Minutes from the Bank of England's latest policy meeting were in focus this morning, showing that policymakers voted unanimously to keep rates on hold at 0.5%. Nevertheless, speculation continues to rise about a sooner-than-expected rate hike after minutes indicated that "for some members the decision had become more balanced".
US stock futures were showing further gains ahead of the opening bell on Wall Street, with investors taking an optimistic approach ahead of earnings from a number of heavyweights including Boeing, PepsiCo, Facebook and AT&T.
"These gains clearly show that investors are more concerned about economic data and earnings season right now than the conflicts in eastern Ukraine and the Gaza strip," said Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari UK.
"That's not to say that both of these don't have the potential to cause further disruptions and weigh further on investor sentiment, it just means that the risk associated with these events is fully priced in and there has been no new significant developments."
Capita, BHP and Renishaw provide a boost
Fuelled by its highest ever level of bid pipeline prospects, outsourcing group Capita has secured £1.3bn of new contracts in the first half from a customer base ranging from John Lewis to the Transport for London and driven growth broadly in line with expectations. The stock was trading around 4% higher by midday.
BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company by revenues, rose after hailing a strong first-half operating performance with annual records achieved across 12 operations and four commodity classes. Others in the mining sector such as Antofagasta and Kazakhmys were also on the rise this morning.
Engineering group Renishaw surged 18% as the company delivered an all-time high annual revenue of £355.5m in the year to June 30th, up 2% year-on-year after a record fourth quarter. Numis upgraded the stock from 'hold' to 'add' today.
Accountancy software firm Sage was subdued after revealing that organic revenue growth slowed slightly to 4.3% in the third quarter. However, it still expects growth to be much stronger in the final three months of its financial year.
Chemicals group Johnson Matthey declined after saying that first-quarter results were affected, as expected, by currency headwinds and the loss of an important contract with platinum group Anglo American Platinum. Sales were more or less flat over the year.
Utilities group SSE was a heavy faller on the FTSE 100 after going ex-dividend, along with exchange operator LSE.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Capita (CPI) 1,198.00p +3.72%
GKN (GKN) 353.40p +1.73%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 2,874.00p +1.52%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 448.30p +1.29%
G4S (GFS) 261.50p +1.08%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 947.50p +1.07%
IMI (IMI) 1,442.00p +1.05%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,369.50p +0.97%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 197.40p +0.89%
Aviva (AV.) 500.00p +0.89%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
SSE (SSE) 1,495.00p -2.99%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,073.00p -1.74%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,703.00p -1.64%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,034.00p -1.62%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,024.00p -1.14%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,197.00p -1.07%
ITV (ITV) 205.20p -1.06%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,929.00p -0.87%
Intu Properties (INTU) 320.90p -0.53%
Hammerson (HMSO) 610.50p -0.49%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Renishaw (RSW) 1,735.00p +18.03%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 343.60p +7.78%
Morgan Advanced Materials (MGAM) 316.40p +5.19%
Perform Group (PER) 225.00p +4.70%
RPS Group (RPS) 271.90p +3.58%
Halfords Group (HFD) 496.90p +2.96%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 400.10p +2.51%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICP) 420.10p +2.44%
Rank Group (RNK) 161.00p +2.42%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 50.95p +2.35%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 160.00p -3.03%
QinetiQ Group (QQ.) 209.00p -3.02%
Poundland Group (PLND) 319.50p -1.75%
Rightmove (RMV) 2,165.00p -1.72%
Greencore Group (GNC) 271.30p -1.52%
ITE Group (ITE) 198.20p -1.39%
IG Group Holdings (IGG) 611.50p -1.29%
Ted Baker (TED) 1,679.00p -1.29%
Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group (JLT) 1,067.00p -1.20%
Hellermanntyton Group (HTY) 308.00p -1.12%